May 24, 2022

Successful Claim Operations Feel “The Need for Speed”!

Poor Tom Cruise.

Wife number three dumps him suddenly and life flies by at warp speed.  His recent divorce from Katie Holmes was reached in a very compressed time frame.  In happier days for the actor, before he hopped around Oprah’s couch, he put the pedal to the metal.  In the movie Top Gun, Cruise’s character Maverick saunters away from his fighter jet with a fellow pilot, giving a high-five and exclaiming, “I feel the need for speed!”

(The need for Scientology came later.)

Claim organizations also must feel the need for speed in the 21st century, if they are to be successful.

What can you do to speed up the claims-handling process?

Keep asking yourself this question.  Especially if you are in management, keep asking yourself – and your staff – this question.  This is part of the essence of reengineering.

No, I’m not talking about lopping off headcount.  I’m talking about deconstructing the claims process into all of its component parts and analyzing how you can speed it up.  Step on the accelerator IF you can do so without sacrificing quality of investigation, customer experience and outcomes.

Increasingly, companies sell speed as a competitive differentiator.  If you can accelerate the claims process without sacrificing quality, you will have a competitive advantage.  This is true whether you work for an insurer, local independent adjuster or international third party claims administrator.

  • What steps take too long?
  • What steps can we eliminate?
  • What can we do to make loss reporting quicker and easier for clients and policyholders?
  • Can we use technology such as computers, e-mail or the World Wide Web to accelerate the pace of claim-handling?
  • Are there any useless or redundant steps in the claim-handling process?
  • How long does it take us to set up a new claim file?
  • How long does it take to get it into an adjuster’s hands?

Do you measure this?

Do you compare results month to month, quarter to quarter?  Where do the trends lead?

Top-notch claim outfits ask themselves these questions, as part of an ongoing improvement process.  They ask these questions, not as a one-time improvement project but rather as an ongoing and recurring improvement process.

It never ends!

Speed is a huge factor in the customer’s mind these days in evaluating one service provider over another.  For examples, look at what companies like Progressive are doing in their approaches to claim handling.  Some insurers are harnessing new technologies for claim service.  For example, thanks to a triple-tech punch of satellites, software and the Internet, Progressive is rewriting the “rules of the road.”  It keeps adjusters on the street with cell phones, wireless, Web-linked laptops, delivering on-site counseling, “crash-to-cash” service and towing help.  It can do it in the time some companies take to investigate an accident.  “We don’t sell insurance anymore,” quips CEO Peter Lewis, “we sell speed.”  “Fast” means using digital cameras and wireless Net links.  Using such technologies, adjusters can analyze damage, tap into files, check replacement values on Websites of service shops – and hand out claim payments on the spot, sometimes within 20 minutes.

“Feel the need for speed” in your own claim operation.  Look for ways to streamline and accelerate the claims-handling process.

In the 21st century, there will be two types of claim organizations – the quick and the dead.

Which type will you be?

Have you had a situation where you were able to speed up the claim process by eliminating a step or through other means?  Share your comment and experience here!


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